Koh Samui- Christmas Day, A Murder, A Tattoo and lots of driving back and fourth.

Firstly, sorry for the huge gap between blogs, hopefully I will be able to keep more on top of it. I didn’t realise putting time aside from doing, well nothing to write would be so hard. I’m still a few days behind on my journal, but will hopefully catch up on that too. As I write this we are well ahead of the Blog (It’s probably even a month behind L).  I’m enjoying reminiscing on the different adventures we’ve had so far as I write though.

Also this blog might get a bit tedious as it’s the longest one so far. Sorry if I bore you along the way. Maybe read in two parts so I don’t put you to sleep.

Koh Samui

Today we were heading across to Koh Samui. The boat over to the island only takes around an hour. You can actually see it from Koh Phangan. On the boat over there were a few guys who had clearly been to the half moon party. Which take place in the jungle. They were still covered in UV paint and one guy was dressed like Mr Motivator, but more day  glo, and with a bright bum bag.

Once off the boat, we got a taxi transfer to our hotel. We were staying in a place called Samui Lagoon bay. My mum and dad had paid for the stay as a Christmas gift (Thanks mum & dad).  We were right on the beach and had a huge room with air con. It makes such a difference compared to a fan.  Once we had had some food we spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool. That night we headed to the local night market, which sold a range of seafood, Thai dishes as well as fake handbags and cheap cocktails.

This is the largest of all the Thai islands, it even has its own airport. So to get around we were defiantly going to need a bike. The walk from one end of our resort to the other is long enough journey alone. We spent a lot of time on our bike heading back and forth for Lamai, which is about a  25 minute drive away. We got to know the route over pretty well during our time on the island.

We went for a bit of a reccy, to see if we would want to stay there after we had to check out our Christmas accommodation.  Also I found a tattoo studio I wanted to get a tattoo from, so we headed there to look for that too.

After driving though Lamai, we knew we didn’t need to come back and stay as it was very similar to the resort we were already in. We did however stumble across the tattoo studio I was looking for. Unfortunately the artist wasn’t there when we popped in. So we jumped back on the bike and went to explore further afield.   We headed to a place called Boput or also known as Fisherman’s village. It really reminded us of the old town in Koh Lanta, just everything cost twice as much. It was very sleepy and chilled out. It seemed to run at a different pace to the rest of the island. The shops here sold lovely trinkets I wanted to buy to fill our home with, then I remembered that our home was no longer ours (it’s in very safe hands) and our home for the foreseeable future was whichever guesthouse, bungalow, hostel or hotel we found ourselves in for the night. We would have loved to stay there, but it just seemed a bit too expensive for what it was. A basic fan room here was x3 the price that we paid in Haad Rin.

We couldn’t bare the sound of our tummies rumbling any more so headed back towards our “home” to look for a food stall.  Luckily it didn’t take too long as we were both stating to get hangry. We found a vendor in a car park of a Tesco (they actually have Tesco’s out here). It was a bit different to the burger van you might find in a Tesco car park in England. On the way back we got a bit lost, but it’s always fun as it means you get to see more of the island that way.

After relaxing in our glorious air con room for a bit we headed back to Lamai to see if Mr Tak the tattoo artist was there. Thankfully he was this time.  He asked if I had any ideas or designs, so I showed him two on my phone. He said okay and to come back tomorrow. Which was fine, as I wanted to get it done on Christmas day anyway. On the drive home we noticed a sign for a view point and waterfall. So headed in that direction. It cost us 100 baht each to see a basic waterfall, then climb for 10 minutes to see the view point, which was just a roof of a Tesco mega store. We were pretty disappointed.

Later that night we headed back to the night market and enjoyed some freshly caught Red Snapper. We then came back to get in the festive spirit by watching Elf

Happy Christmas!! Christmas day, didn’t really feel like Christmas Day. It felt extremely hot though.  I guess it doesn’t feel like Christmas as we are away from our families for the first time. It felt odd but not sad. It just felt like another day of the year to us. One important tradition we wanted to keep, was to make sure we ate lots of food, just like we would have done back home. We really wanted Banana pancakes for breakfast. There are just as many stalls selling fruit shakes and pancakes as there are Tuk Tuks. That morning however, we couldn’t find a pancake stall for love or money. They clearly come out later in the day and not at 9am.  We drove around  for ages looking for one. We finally admitted defeat and went to treat ourselves to a Ham and cheese toastie from 7-Eleven .  I say treated, we pretty much eat them most days, but I’m not sure they sell them in any of the other counties we will be visiting, so we had to make the most of them.  I mean, we love our food, any food. We are more than happy to try pretty much any local cuisine. We won’t be eating any other western food out here. There is just something about these toasties.

For the first day in a while, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. A Christmas miracle. So we spent the morning in the sea, Christmas in style.  After relaxing in the lovely Christmas day heat we headed back to Lamai to the tattoo studio. Mr Lak, had designed two ideas for me. I literally had shown him the two ideas/designs on my phone for seconds. He had come up with two beautiful ideas. One of which was far better than I could have even imagined. It was exactly what I wanted. The only downside was he was in the middle of working on someone else so we had to come back again later on. I was already getting bored of this drive back and forth from Cheweng to Lamai.

We grabbed some lunch on the way home then had some family Skype time, which was lovely. It was lovely getting to see our families and see and hear what they were up to on their Christmas days. I don’t think anyone was that keen to hear I was getting a tattoo though.  Then for the fourth time, we drove back over to Lamai for my tattoo with Mr Tak. It was a great Christmas gift from me, to me. So now I have a beautiful arrow with shaded feather on the end on the top of my left ribcage.

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The demise/murder of a snake- Warning contains actual snake murder. 

Today we were the witnesses to a snake murder. As we were leaving to buy some beer we spotted a snake just outside the room next to ours. The snake was slim but around 12”. That’s a footlong subway! So when we got back from the shop and it was still there, Sam bravely informed the notified the security guard.  He had no idea what we were on about, and pointed at the reception. So we informed the woman. We weren’t sure if it was dangerous or not. She passed the message on and the security guard. He went off, to what we thought would be to get a device to move it on. Nope. He came back with a huge plank of wood and bashed that footlong snake in its head. We had to just turn away at this point. We were scared as we didn’t know if it was poisonous (it could have been) but we didn’t need him to be hit in the head with a plank of wood. It was Christmas day, a day of giving. Not snake murder. Then he got it on the piece of wood and flicked it in to the hotel next door. RIP Mr Snake, we are sorry we are part to blame for your death.

 

We decided that we would go out, out tonight to celebrate Christmas, as we hadn’t really been out properly yet. We had a few cocktails from the night market at they were only around £2. We knew there was a big party on at a place called Ark Bar, which was the other end of Cheweng beach to us.  We wish we hadn’t though. One it took bloody ages and two I almost shit myself. Not in a I was scared way, in a I almost went to the toilet in my pants way (too much information?! Sorry I did want it to be an honest blog). When we finally reached Ark bar, we saw a row of bars across the road, so went to see if we could have a drink there first. Everyone was about 12 and it looked like a stag do down the strip in Malia. Lots and lots of vest and fancy dress. Then Sam got grabbed by a go go dancer. Excuse me hands off!!  When we made it to the beach where the Ark bar party was, it was playing some terrible trance and everyone was twisted, so we decided to just leave and walk back along the beach and go home. We were walking for ages until we realised there were no cut troughs, as all the hotels back on to the beach. We tried to get though one, thinking we would come out by a reception, but there was just a locked gate and we had no fob. So we wondered aimlessly back along the beach. After what felt like a lifetime we finally found a cut though back to the main road, not as far down as we had hoped, but still to where we recognised. Also we came out on the road right next to a pancake stall! Jackpot. It was many hours on since our breakfast craving. The craving however was still there. By this point we were pretty worse for wear. So attempting to order seem pretty difficult. Sam managed to somehow order us 3 pancakes, of which we couldn’t remember what we had just ordered until we saw the guy making them. As we had 3 but only needed two, Sam said we could give one to the security guard at the hotel as a treat. I on the other hand wanted to have one and half pancakes to myself. It was a good thing we ordered 3 as Sam managed to drop his all over the floor.

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The next day (26th December) we were still unsure if we wanted to find somewhere else to stay on this island or just head straight to Koh Tao. We went to look at some other areas besides Lamai, which we had already been to about 20 times. While on the lookout for another potential area we somehow missed the turning point and ended up driving to pretty much the other side of the island. We decided it probably was time for us to move on. We were ready to see what the next island had on offer for us. So we decided to book the transfer over to Koh Tao. It meant we could just check out, then get picked up by the transfer taxi and taken over to the ferry. However we couldn’t leave koh Samui without one last trip to the night market.

Congratulations on making it to the end of this blog.  I hope it wasn’t too painful. I’ve never written a Blog before, so not sure what to add, or what I should probably keep out. The next one won’t be too far off.

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Koh Phangan- Food, Roosters and Rain.

Today we were bidding farewell to Phi Phi and our second Island in Thailand. On to Koh Phangan. The Island most people go to for the full moon party. Koh Phangan is on the west cost of Thailand, so to get there from our current location, this involved a ferry, a bus journey across the mainland, then a second boat. The first leg of the journey was fine. The ferry and bus journey didn’t seem to drag too much. As we were getting closer to the coast the weather started to change. No more bright skies. Rain and wind met us as we boarded the second ferry of the day.  This would take us from the main land over to Koh Phangan.  We then embarked on the longest and most terrifying boat journey of my life. The water was really choppy, so the boat was rocky, really rocky.  Myself and several other people on the boat spent a good part of the horrific journey with our heads over the toilet bowl. Even Sam said later he thought the boat was going to capsize.

Once we had finally arrived to safe land, we took what Google maps had said to be a 20 minute walk to our bungalows. We did get slightly lost on the way, due to the roads being pitch black. So in all we wondered for about 40 minutes with our rucksacks trying to find the place. By daylight the next day the place was much more obvious on the road. We were staying in a place called Cosy Bungalows which is in Thong Sala, the main port town of the Island. We had a huge concrete bungalow, which looked like it had just been built. The only issue was there was no ventilation, so it felt quite damp. Something I didn’t get used to our entire stay.  On the plus side, the location wasn’t too bad and we had a hammock on our porch. Oh and hot water!

The next day we had a bit of a wonder around. We headed back to the pier. The walk minus the backpacks was much easier.  We spotted where the Thong Sala night market takes place. Hundreds of food stalls! Our dream come true. We knew we would be back later to sample a few of its many dishes. The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling out on our porch and hammock. The football was on later, so we didn’t head out till about 9pm as was a 4pm UK kick off. By the time we reached the market, a few of the stalls were already closing. So we didn’t get to see  it had to offer in full. A good reason to revisit the next day.  We still managed to have some Dim Sum, Spring rolls and a chicken skewer.  That still hadn’t cured our hunger. So we went on the search for some street food. We found a place with lots of outside seating, busy with locals. A great place for people watching. A lot of the locals bring along their own bottles of whiskey and just order the soda water and ice from the restaurant. No corkage fee out here!  For 10pm on a Sunday it was pretty busy. I guess they didn’t have too many worries of being hungover in work the next morning.

We still had some time to kill before the kick-off so went to find a bar for drink before the game. We found small place. The girl on the bar said we could either sit at the bar, or one of the seats in front of it, or if we wanted we could join her and her bother. Who was sat drinking on the other side of the bar to us. We of course chose to sit with them.  Her brother seemed pretty wasted by the time we got there, but they were both really funny. He was feeding Sam shots of his tequila. Then lip synched to “See you again” while looking into his eyes. It was a shame we had to leave to watch the game, as it could have been the start to a beautiful relationship.

The game was good because City beat Arsenal 2-1, a win for city at long last.

We then headed back to where we were staying in Thong Sala as we were due to skype Sam’s Dad for his birthday. It was lovely to have a catch up with them. We ordered a box of wine for a birthday present. So that should last his parents at least 2 days.  Sam’s parents love a glass of white wine. When I met them for the first time I was given very generous pouring’s. I thought I might die of a hangover the next day!

After the skype call we went for another wonder on the bike. We then went to the food market. It was much busier this time. There was a stall that sold bugs, such as crickets and grasshoppers. The man on the stall let me try them all. We bought some grasshoppers, but after the first few I decided that they weren’t the bugs for me. We had driven past a load of other food stalls and markets earlier that day, so headed there to get some other food besides bugs. There wasn’t really anything we fancied on the food front, but had a look at the market stalls. I got some traveller pants. So I can now look like every other person we walk past. I did really want a pair though, and will be ideal to wear when we have long bus journeys or when we visit temples, so I am covered up. As our hunger wasn’t cured  we decided to head back to the other food market, for the third time in two days. When we got back to our bike we thought someone had stolen Sam’s helmet. We were freaking out until we realised we were at the wrong bike.

After returning the bike we checked out our huge, but damp bungalow. We then got a taxi bus over to Haad Rin. We had 3 nights booked at Coral Bungalows. This is the place everyone stays at when it’s a full moon party. As there wasn’t one on when we were there, they had really cheap rates. The 3 nights only cost us 900 Baht, so about £6/7 a night. We were on the beach and it had a pool. After checking in we  went  for a wonder and got caught in a massive down pour. It was insane. There was so much water it created a river. We were stuck on the steps of a 7- Eleven.  No ham and cheese toasties this time though.

We both had a terrible sleep. There was a bloody rooster or as Carrie Bradshaw called them “roof chickens” going off all night. It would not shut up. I thought they only did it in the mornings. Then when the rain came down it sounded like the roof was going to fall in. I then heard a couple having a huge argument, the girl was kicking off big time. In the morning I asked Sam if he had heard them too. Well I must have fallen asleep before the “argument” had reached its climax. As Sam said it definitely wasn’t an argument. Just one sided on her part. I’m surprised she didn’t get distracted by the Rooster.

The weather was vile so we ate crisps in bed and watched The Holiday. Great Christmas film. The Mr Napkin head bit gets my brother every time.

There was a pool party taking place where we were staying that night, as we hadn’t been our yet we decided to give it a go. We went early on as we wanted to get our buckets at the happy hour price. As we were there so early it was pretty dead, and not going to pick up till after midnight. So we decided to be boring and just go home to bed.

Our last day was very uneventful; we just chilled by the pool and went for some food and booked our transfer over to Koh Samui.

Phi Phi. The Island Leo loves.

First of all I need point out that we almost didn’t head to Phi Phi. We had heard very mixed reviews of the place, but we had come all this way so couldn’t really miss this island off our list. Also it was our decision to make our mind up about the place.

After a restless sleep we were up just before 7am to get the first boat over to the island. With already some negativity in our minds we parted way with our first island on to the next. Once we arrived it already had a different vibe to koh Lanta. We wondered away from the pier a place to stay for the night. We already knew everywhere would be more expensive compared to the other places we had been.  We found a place a bit further out near the walk to the view point. It had Wi-Fi and more importantly a private bathroom. If there was to be a repeat performance from last night, then I wanted it to be in private!  After dumping the bags and trying to let our sweat dry we discovered the walls were paper thin, the toilet didn’t really flush, so nothing, nothing at all went down for ages. Oh and the tap didn’t work. This was the most expensive place we had stayed so far at a full £16 a night. If we got a beach and two pools for £11 in Koh Lanta, I wonder what £16 would have gotten us. Definitely a toilet that flushes!!

Once we thought the sweat had become less of a waterfall we were ready to head out.  We thought we would go to the view point first. The first part is some sort of joke staircase that never seems to end. I thought the altitude was about to change. The stairs had caused us to be completely out of breath. Once you reach the top of the stairs you pay a small entrance fee of 30 Baht and there is the first of two viewpoints. The first was amazing. We did have to stop for a bit as we were so out of breath. We got talking to a man who had only broken into a slight sweat. We discovered that this man, who only broke a slight sweat, compared us, who were drenched in sweat was 92 years of age! A 92 year old man was in a far better shape than either of us. We then went on to look for the second view point, which was sign posted as a 5 minute walk. This is a total lie. It was around a 15 minute climb. This was like base camp of Everest. It was totally worth it when we reached the top though.  You could see how beautiful the Island really was. Sadly staying on a more quiet part of the island was just too much out of our budget. I totally see why people love it here. We are just dead boring and would much rather eat an obscene amount then get so full we have to go for a lie down, than go on a night out.

After the incredible view point we went for a wonder. We encountered a girl ask outside a restaurant “If they served avocado”, one guy in a vest become extremely excited because he saw a sign for a gym. Then had to listen (we had no other option as they were yelling at each other across the table) to some very annoying Canadians. We did have a lovely Pandang curry while we had to listen to them shouting so that helped.  After lunch were just both drenched in sweat again and couldn’t be bothered to do anything. So headed by to our 5 star resort. Even with the fan on it was almost unbearable. We relaxed for a bit then went for another wonder. We found a great roof top bar, and even better it was happy hour. So we enjoyed a few cocktails and watched the sun set. It totally redeemed the rest of the day.

We didn’t decide to go one of the trips that visits the bay where The Beach is filmed, as I’ve only heard it is covered in tourists. I don’t want to ruin what I have in my mind of it. Also this is just where the it was filmed not based on. So I know we are going to get to visit just as equally breath taking beaches along our travels.

We didn’t need any more time on the island, as it had more on offer for other travellers just not for us. So we got our transfer over to Koh Pangan booked for the next day. It was so loud and hot that it was pretty hard to sleep. Then around 7am the party goers came back so that was our alarm sorted. It reminded me of when Christabel and I went to Ayia Napa and we got in at 8am, but had to be up at 10am to check out. We still hadn’t packed and had the water from the vile pool water from River Reggae in our hair. I could hack getting in at that time then. I’d probably struggle now.

As we were leaving to check out and head down to the pier, I did the only thing I could possibly to when being woke up at 7am by people returning from a night out… Slam the door very loudly as we left the room.